And thus it came to pass that the Last Day of NaNo 2019 rolled around, and the writers all over the world could finally rest.
So. What else is there to say other than—we made it? Since I’ve had a few days to think about this last post, I’ve realized that there’s not much I could say about November 30th, other than YES!, and that I might need some help. Ergo, quote time.
“You have to go where the pain is, where the pleasure is, and you can’t be afraid.”
This quote, allegedly by Anne Rice, who writes the most badass sentences I have ever had the privilege of reading (even if she doesn’t rank among my favourite authors due to my personal content preferences), has brought me through the first few years of writing novel drafts, and it’s still stuck at the top right corner of my old laptop’s screen, even though I haven’t been writing at it for almost a year now. One of the biggest obstacles to writing regularly that I’ve encountered in the past twenty four years I’ve been doing it was the idea that I had to write anything else other than what I wanted to write. (Namely, that I needed to write modern-day urban fantasy, or hard(er) sci-fi, or novels without a romance plot base, or straight ships, or vanilla couples, or high fantasy—all of which I really like reading, but which have nothing to do with the way my brain works.) This quote, which was staring at me from the screen, day after day, year after year, helped me find the path, my ‘voice’ or whatever you like to call it, and got me as far as getting a novel published, and writing into the sunset after that.
“Never let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”
This quote, written by the screenwriter(s) of Ten Things I Hate About You and given to their character Patrick Verona (yup, the young and dark haired Heath Ledger), has nothing to do with writing, at least not on the surface. But it has everything to do with all I hope to accomplish through writing. Because sometimes, not even writing is enough. Sometimes, to keep on going, you need to find a bigger picture for your writing, and it could be the why, or the dreaming, or whatever gets you through the long, lonesome days at the keyboard, but to me, at least at the moment, it’s the fact that there’s a slight possibility that writing—writing romance novels, in particular, although mine still seem to be more like mixed genre stories—could help me craft the future (or the fate, to quote another movie) I would like to live in. We’ll see about that.
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
This quote, which I’ve found attributed to Arthur Ashe, comes from the long years of reading about entrepreneurship and business in general, and it was almost as grounbreaking for me as the Anne Rice quote above. It’s so incredibly easy to not do something because you don’t have the resources you think you need. But waiting to aquire said resources—tools, skills, time, money, you name it—takes precious time out of writing. Long story short—patience is not always a virtue. Sometimes you have to go for it now, which most of us know, since we’ve taken this November, not the next one, to write the shit out of our novels. (Repeat after me: The next novel I write will be better. Repeat it until it sticks.)
There’s no quotes to accompany the last Big, Important Point in this last post, but, whatever you do, celebrate. If you didn’t “win”, you still dared. If you made it through all the way to 50k (and/or beyond), way to go, fighter. Be sure to take a few minutes, whether on this last day of November of 2019, or during the first day of December 2019, to acknowledge the fact that it’s done, and you can rest now.* Tell your folks it’s over. Bring your pets extra treats—but still don’t let them run all over your keyboard (as mine are keen on doing, since it’s a wireless one and it’s right in their path as they chase each other around the perimeter of the living room) because—spoilers—you might need it still.
Since you’re the only one who actually knows whether the novel you’ve been sweating over this past thirty days is done or not (and mine still needs about 5k of mostly plot, which I’m going to attack during the rest of the day and tomorrow if it takes that long), tomorrow, and the day after that (or the month after, if you need an actual break, in which case, take it), come back to the copy.
If the first draft of your novel is actually done, edit it to the best of your abilities (see the quote above, heh) and get it out to a trusted reader. If it needs a few scenes more (or even 50k more, which is completely possible), get them in and add the wordcount to your NaNo total. If it needs a few scenes less, cut them out and don’t cry over wordcount lost—it won’t be NaNo anymore.
Either way, don’t let it sit. Sure, you might’ve written it for yourself.
But other people might have written stories for themselves, too, and if they didn’t get a nudge in the right direction—if they didn’t dare to go out there with their hopes and their dreams and their plots—you might’ve missed out on reading a few of your own favourite writers. Scary thought, innit?
This might also be a good time to come to terms with the fact that you’ve written a (better part of a) book. You’ve created a new piece of fiction, participated in the glorious, weird, vast world of the whole of humankind’s art. If you’ve manage to do this one thing… who’s to say that the sky isn’t the limit, for you?
*(And not in the manner of two of my favourite movies which had seen their main characters dead in the arms of their loved ones at the very end, please.)
The whole Thirty Days are now available at a glance through this link, and I guess I’ll even get around to writing Day One at a certain point—when I get back from the next few days of sleep, eat, rinse, repeat, I guess.
Thanks for the journey here on the Skirts’n’Wolves blog! It was real fun having you around. Thanks for reading, thanks for the likes—you’re the main reason I could keep the posts coming for such a long time—and all the power to you and your novel(s). See you around sometime. 😉